By Bonson Lam
Tucked away between Akita Station and the Citizens Market, the Richmond Hotel is ideally placed if you are on the trail for some fine local handicrafts. Nearby there is a knife shop with hundreds of artisan blades with no a tourist in sight. After that is the Citizens Market, with a catch that reflects what is in season that month. Turn around in the opposite direction, and you can head towards the Old Kaneko family store and the Kanto Festival Museum. If hand drawn manga is more your thing, head towards Akita station for the Junkodo bookstore and Animate, a haven for manga fans with dozens of aisles dedicated to the latest and greatest in comic strips
Richmond hotel is one of the top rated hotels with Akita and has the chic factor more commonly associated with four star establishments, but the price closer to that of a business hotel. While the facilities are closer to a business hotel (no swimming pool, banquet halls or chapels to speak of), the single, twin and double rooms have a luxurious feel, with warm earthy wood tones, fluffy pillows and blankets in a compact carpeted room with a flat screen TV. The ensuite bathroom has a shower and bath as well as complementary toiletries.
There is free wi-fi, as well as self serve laundry services that will make both business and leisure visitors feel at home. It is an easy 7 minute walk on level ground to Akita Railway Station, taxi and bus terminal, convenient for services to Metropolitan Akita, Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church and Akita International Airport. Senshu Park and Kubota Castle are just 10 minutes away.
The small in house restaurant called Kagura serves local Akita cuisine like kiritanpo, as well as Pacific Saury fish in season for dinner. For breakfast try the Western and Japanese breakfast which is open from 0630 to 1000. It can get a bit crowded in the morning however there is plenty of food to go around.
While the clerks at the front desk are all Japanese, there is an international flavour, as one of them has lived in Canada and has dreams to go to the Caribbean. Even some of the front desk employees who have not been overseas can speak reasonable English, giving you a warm and professional welcome.
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